Formed in 1984 by Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil and Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden is widely credited as one of the progenitors of the grunge movement. As the ‘90s saw a decline in the popularity of ‘80s hair metal and an upsurge of interest in alt-rock, Soundgarden welded heavy metal riffage with alt-rock chord progressions, creating a new, raw sound.
Their breakthrough album, Superunknown, contains classics such as Black Hole Sun, The Day I Tried To Live, and Spoonman. This album saw the band exploring further influences, such as psychedelia while maintaining their hard-rock backbone.
Much of their individuality as a band is owed to Chris Cornell’s angst-soaked vocals. Often compared to Robert Plant, his plaintive howls and guttural growls helped to make Soundgarden unique. Where other singers sang about machismo, Cornell delved deep into challenging subjects, such as mental illness, masculine fragility and our environmental impact on the planet.